What Can You Do?

Your friend is involved with a girl and you know it’s not right…

You have asked him “isn’t she a little young?” It gets kind of weird when he brings her to parties. Did you know: older men often date girls because they believe they can coerce them into having sex? Or they believe girls won’t have sexually transmitted diseases so they do not use birth control. Adult men father 2/3 of pregnancies among underage girls. It’s not just wrong, it is against the law. Your friend can go to jail.

Who is at risk for being an exploiter?

  • Older teens who may not feel confident of their ability to attract and maintain a relationship with an equal may turn to someone younger as a way to bolster self-esteem.
  • Men/older boys who have rigid, stereotyped views of masculinity may see the “conquest” of a young girl as an affirmation of their masculinity.
  • Older teens and adults who have control issues may find it easier to control someone who is younger.
  • Adults who have not been successful in their relationships with other adults may turn to preying on young teens.
  • Victims of child sexual abuse may abuse younger teens.
  • While men are the predominant offenders, women may engage in coercive or exploited exploitive relationships with teens as well. They are more likely to use flattery or bribery than threats or overt force.

What can you do?

Talk to him. Tell him it’s not right and unhealthy. Tell him that healthy relationships should be based on equality. Tell him about the law or this website. Let him know how you feel about this. And if you have to, go to the police.

You are in a relationship with a much younger girl and you know it’s not right…

Most men want a healthy relationship. A healthy relationship is one that is based on equality. An adult (over 18) who is in a relationship with a minor cannot, by definition, be equal partners in a relationship. Statutory Rape is not only an issue of consent, but also one of coercion and exploitation. Anytime an adult has a sexual relationship with someone who is underage, it is a form of exploitation, even if no overtly coercive behavior appears to be involved. The adult is using the sexual and emotional inexperience of the teen to get something from them.

You may just have the feeling that your relationship with a younger person is not right, or a friend may have told you that your relationship is uncool. Well, your relationship may be against the law. You can spend time in jail and be considered a sex offender, needing to register with state sex offender registries.

What can you do?

Do the right thing. End the relationship. Respect yourself and your need for a healthy, equal relationship

You know a younger person who may be in a coercive relationship…

You hear her talk about her older boyfriend and you just know it’s not right. Adult men often date young girls because it is easier to sexually coerce them. Teens that are in sexually coercive relationships don’t recognize that their relationship is unhealthy. But the law in Virginia is there to protect her. A minor cannot consent to a sexual relationship with an adult. The teen, even if she thinks she is choosing the relationship, is still the victim in the eyes of the law.

What can you do?

Talk with her; let her know your concerns. Talk with her parents. Call the Virginia Family Violence & Sexual Assault hotline (1-800-838-8238). Go to the police. Get her the help she needs.